History

"Our glorious turf has been studded with stars and if any one of them has for some reason or another, caused you to be stirred by the outstanding nature of his (or her) performance, then cherish the memory and I hope it will stay with you for the rest of your life, just as my memories have stayed with me for mine"
– Arthur Thorn (1919-2002), Founder of Racetrack

Arthur Thorn had a dream.

He wanted to produce Australia’s first sporting magazine.

In September 1946, his dream was realised with the publication of Sports Novels.

In his editorial of the October 1964 edition, Arthur Thorn made the following announcement:

"Sports Novels is Australia’s oldest sporting magazine and has produced an issue every month since September 1946. But this issue you are now reading is the final edition of Sports Novels as you know it. As from next month, Sports Novels will be incorporated in the exciting new racing magazine, RACETRACK."

And so it was in November 1964, the first issue of Racetrack was published.

In 2002, Arthur Thorn sadly passed away.

In the eulogy, his son Jim spoke of how Arthur and his loving wife Rita, brought Racetrack to life:
"The war finally ran its course and in 1946 dad forged ahead on a project he obviously had been thinking about for a number of years. And so was born Sports Novels, a magazine dedicated to sport which in that era was very big in Australia.

I remember mum and dad telling stories of how they hocked everything to get issue one out, distributing much of it themselves and doing what many were happy to sit back and say was – impossible! Having replicated that effort to some extent a third of a century later I can well attest to the challenges they must have faced.

Sports Novels was hard yakka but it worked as a product and succeeded to the point where it had a circulation greater than today’s Bulletin, and that was in a nation with just half of today’s population – a considerable achievement by any standard. Then came the advent of television and magazine sales dropped alarmingly as people fled to the new and exciting medium.

Faced with a circulation about a third of what it was dad decided to rename the magazine Racetrack in the early sixties and to concentrate on the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry which was not only their primary interest but also the largest and healthiest sector in Australian sport. Racetrack succeeded in getting back some of the lost sales and also gave me my first taste of managing, writing and promoting a magazine, something of which I am very thankful."

To this day, 496 editions of Racetrack (including 6 Annuals 1972-77)/714 magazines including Sports Novels have been published and 70 years later, the initial dream of Arthur Thorn continues to attract readers from all over the world.


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1964


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2016



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